You Earned Your Diabetes: Policies, Politicians and Ignorance
5/12/17

PHOTOGRAPHY: Tim Correira
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The U.S.’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, revealed the current administration’s attitude toward health care coverage for those with “diabetes,” claiming that those living with “diabetes” (both Type 1 and Type 2, and presumably gestational and LADA as well) earned it from poor lifestyle choices. It is their position that for that reason, “diabetes” shouldn’t be covered.

At the Life Forum at Stanford University, Mulvaney referred to the “Jimmy Kimmel Test,” a term coined by the comedian’s plea to keep coverage for “pre-existing conditions,” saying this: “I do think it should meet that test. We have plenty of money to deal with that. We have plenty of money to provide that safety net so that if you get cancer you don’t end up broke.”

He went on to say, “That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes. Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid? I don’t think that it is.”

Healthcare coverage for people suffering from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is a life and death situation. More than 29 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, nearly 10% of the population.

Furthermore, people with Type 1 diabetes are insulin-dependent, which is to say they will die within days without insulin. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, classified as a “pre-existing condition” with no cure and no known cause. Type 2 diabetes develops from multiple risk factors, one of them being primarily genetic.

People should not be denied healthcare coverage as a result of pre-existing conditions such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Illness is not “earned” and people who are sick are not “at fault” for being sick. Healthcare policy — be it the ACA, AHCA, or something different altogether — should help those living with chronic illnesses.

When we set aside the politics, we’re left with what this quote really is: ignorant. Statements like these — which are far too common in one form or another — further stigma. They make people’s lives harder. They perpetuate false information. The kind of rhetoric being used in pursuit of a political victory is divisive and counterproductive. There are policy fights that we have to win, but this quote is a staggering reminder that there are education fights as well. 


Read Beyond Type 1’s statement about the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and find out what you can do.

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